The Machine Mandate A space opera universe where artificial intelligences have achieved independence from humanity and formed the collective known as the Mandate. Most of the titles are standalones and have different protagonists (all of whom are lesbians). Machine’s Last Testament (novel; takes place several centuries before the rest) And Shall Machines Surrender (novella)

Made of Knives (free prequel short story with the same characters from And Shall Machines Surrender)

Now Will Machines Hollow the Beast (novella)

Where Machines Run with Gold (free prequel short story with the same characters from Now Will Machines Hollow the Beast)

Then Will the Sun Rise Alabaster (short prequel story with the same characters from Now Will Machines Hollow the Beast)

Shall Machines Divide the Earth (novel)

Together We Will Hunt Again (short prequel story that bridges Shall Machines Divide the Earth and Where Machines Redeem the Lost)

Where the Tiger Runs Alone (short prequel story that bridges Shall Machines Divide the Earth and Where Machines Redeem the Lost)

Where Machines Redeem the Lost (novel)

Now Will Machines Devour the Stars (novel)

Shall Machines Bite the Sun (novel)

The Cognate Coefficient

A world where aliens have “invaded” earth and uplifted humans to become cognates, people who are able to cross parallel timelines.

More Than Utopia (novel)

If Else Paradise (novel)

Her Pitiless Command An epic fantasy lesbian retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Snow Queen’, taking place in a world based on Southeast and South Asian cultures where the primary from of magic-technology is powered by the dead.

Winterglass (novella)

That Rough-Hewn Sun (short story; takes place years before Winterglass)

Mirrorstrike (novel)

Shattersteel (novel)



Short Fiction


‘The City Still Dreams of Her Name’ in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. A city incarnated in human form pursues her instances across timelines, seeking to change the terrible destiny of the woman she loves.

‘We Will Become as Monsters’ in The Future Fire. A scavenger who lives near a deadly monster-labyrinth comes upon a dying general, who promises her wealth, concubines, and more power than she’s ever dreamed of.


‘That August Song’ in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. For ages uncounted, humanity is defended from the monsters of sea by pilot-priests, who combat them within the living weapons known as vanquishers. Mecha fantasy.

‘Where Machines Run with Gold’ in The Future Fire. A soldier takes on a beheading dare and comes to meet her agreed-upon sentence in a small, strange city. Space opera Sir Gawain and the Green Knight retelling, takes place in the same universe as And Shall Machines Surrender.

‘Then Will the Sun Rise Alabaster’. On a remote planet, a convent harbors a deadly secret buried beneath quiet violence–a secret that the woman known only as the Alabaster Admiral will obtain at any cost. A story from the perspective of a young woman forced into religion by violent imperialism. Takes place after ‘Where Machines Run With Gold’ but before And Shall Machines Surrender.

‘Tiger, Tiger Bright’ in The Dark Magazine. A woman in contemporary Bangkok harbors a lifelong curse. A woman who calls herself a tiger offers help.


‘The Five Secret Truths of Demonkind‘ in Big Echo. The earth is cursed; humans are doomed to become monsters. A demon breaches virtue’s fortress in search of God.

‘Red as Water, White as Ruin’ in Mythic Delirium. An expedition journeys to a land devastated by an unknown apocalypse, navigating an impossible curse and an impossible survivor. Secondary-world horror/dark fantasy.

‘The Owls of Juttshatan’. On a cold world of slow-moving terns, a child grows in the shadow of her mother the war hero. She is a creature of peace, raised in quiet among maps and dreams and owls. But she can be more, if she chooses. A space opera novelette of brutal bildungsroman. Prequel to ‘Autodidact’

Continue reading “Short Fiction”


Feed Them Silence was really interesting, more literary than SF, a deep character study, meditation on academia and the ethics of taking capitalist funding, and how to keep everything from falling apart. I’ve seen people call it a book about a researcher’s parasocial relationship with her subject (in this case a wolf) and I’d say that’s about right. The protagonist, Sean, is an older butch lesbian deep in research, desperate to escape loneliness and her disintegrating marriage by slipping into the brain of a wolf.

Fairly tragic (not in a dead wife way though), though not as devastating as Our Wives Under the Sea.

Natural Beauty by Ling Ling Huang was super fun–a body horror book steeped in a satire of the wellness and beauty industry: how far will you go to achieve physical perfection? The narrator, a Chinese-American piano prodigy, has to grapple with poverty and white supremacy when her workplace is slowly transforming her… and more. My only complaint is that the climax is a little… silly, in that the narrator sets the antagonists on fire through slightly cartoonish means. It doesn’t ruin the book by any means, but did give me pause.

This probably is what you’d call an upmarket book, in that it has a slightly literary voice but is in substance a genre book (horror, thriller), and thoroughly a page-turner. Content warnings for very strong body/sexual violations and body horror.

Some recent releases

I’ve been a little busy: December 2022 saw the release of More Than Utopia, starting a new series about aliens, quantum physics, and the lesbians entangled in all of this. The second book If Else Paradise will be released in July 2023.

On the collaborative front, we’re slowing down slightly but I think we’re still keeping a good pace: Those Who Break Chains continues this year with The Serpent of the House of Hua, a short novella about a demonic casino heist, fairy queens, and knights (as well as our favorite warlock and her demon wife, of course). I’m rather pleased with our growing series: this makes two full-length novels, one novelette, and one novella to date. I expect to have more to announce soon with yet another series (sharing a universe with this one), so keep an eye out!


In retrospect it wasn’t that difficult. As long as I didn’t try to reconcile anything, as long as I accepted that my husband was a bad person, my children were going to grow up to be bad people, and I was the crown jewel doing my part for the legitimacy of other bad people—well, as long as I did that, it was fine and dandy. I went out with my ladies-in-waiting, sunned on yachts, and swanned around in ball gowns, a dead woman in a beautiful dress.

The Force of Such Beauty is one of those singular novels that leave you gasping. It fires up your brain; it makes you breathless with both the force of its intention and its craft (the prose is some of the best I’ve ever read). The story isn’t new, as such, but it’s perhaps interesting that most novels about modern royalty are romance. An American girl might discover she’s the progeny of the Japanese prince (this, regrettably, is an actual book), or that the man she’s dating is the future king of a small European country, and then there might be some struggle about adjusting to etiquette lessons or what have you. But these stories end happily; the American girl brings democracy to Buckingham Palace, and is applauded for her down-to-earth character, and so on.

Caroline Muller, the protagonist of this book, is based primarily on Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock, but her adversarial mother-in-law Queen Amelie is clearly based on Elizabeth II (rest in pieces, and so forth). She and the prince of the fictional Lucomo fall in love while they’re both at a hospital, and Caroline believes she goes into this with open eyes. But she’s uneducated and fairly naïve, having dedicated all her life to running, and despite warnings from her lawyer friend Zola, she quickly finds that she doesn’t know anything at all.

One upon a time, I was the fastest woman on earth. I was extraordinary: a rising mountain and the tiger who jumped over it like it was nothing. I ate when I was hungry and slept when I was tired, and in the hours between, I ran. My body was a vessel for my willpower; my body put other people to shame; my body proved what was possible.

When I think about that body, I’m homesick in the pit of my stomach. There is no word special enough to describe its singularity. It was carved from volcanic rock and brought to life with the force of a thousand goddesses. It carried me to the top of the highest wooden box and placed a golden weight around my neck, and it did all of that by the time I was twenty-one years old.

It’s a harrowing narrative as Caroline struggles within the instruments of wealth and power, with being not only constantly monitored but being reduced to an incubator. She looks back on the early days of being in love, and admits she didn’t realize at that point that her Prince Charming’s argument for authoritarianism presents ‘the symptom of a great, troubling disease’; instead she found him earnest, and she believed in what he believed. Her own parents struggled against Apartheid, and she believes that she’s fundamentally a good person, that Prince Ferdinand is a good person, that together they’ll do extraordinary and just things together.

As her mother-in-law escalates her abuse, and as her husband loses interest in her, Caroline finds herself increasingly trapped—and realizes that wealth has made her both weak and evil, that she has performed the role of the obedient trophy wife too well, and that now she wants out. There’s a horrible moment when she has an affair with her bodyguard, a relationship that’s presented as sincere and one of the final exercises of her agency, only for her to discover he’s a sex worker her husband paid to keep her from becoming too discontent.

If it were up to me, there’d have been one more chapter so the ending isn’t completely abrupt, but as it is the conclusion is incredibly brutal. The entire thing is, really, as you watch Caroline be stripped of agency and control of her own body; as you watch everyone manipulate her and treat her like a total fool. As she discovers that her Prince Charming, whom she thought wasn’t like other men, is exactly like all the other men.

It’s not a light read, the book viscerally describes the destruction that results from Caroline’s career-ending injury, her pregnancy and childbirth, her loss of self. But this unflinching look is what makes the book so special:

Zola held back her memories with a swallow. She was unwilling to allow them, even now, to take up space in her life. “I know why you wanted to live in a palace. But every time we tell ourselves that it’s better to make change from the inside instead of tearing down the building . . . it feels like such a profound failure of imagination.”

What I’ve Been Watching/Reading

I’ve been obsessed with Summertime Render, a horror/suspense anime with the premise that a guy returns to his small-town island home and finds it infested with spooky doppelgangers pretending to be humans… and then he gets brutally murdered. Except each time he dies, the time loops and he gets another chance. But the loop is getting a little shorter each time, and soon he’ll loop to the moment of calamity and will have no more chance to ‘redo’.

The show suffers from truly unnecessary fanservice, but it’s not the most egregious around. There is, surprisingly, a lesbian (though sadly unrequited, but hey, one of the het guys is even more unrequited than she). The visuals, the music, and the acting (the seiyuu voice the characters with a Kansai accent!) are on-point, it’s a truly gorgeous show and slated to run for 25 episodes, covering the manga in its entirety. Meaning we’ll get the entire story! What is really special about Summertime is that its pacing is absolutely tremendous; each episode escalates from the previous episode, but not in a way that leaves either viewers or characters without room to breathe. Shinpei, the protagonist, is a fairly introspective person and is planning out his next moves and what he has to do to ‘win’ the next loop.

Continue reading “What I’ve Been Watching/Reading”


The Lesbian Review has come through again: it’s how I discovered The Perfume Thief and They Never Learn, respectively historical fiction in Nazi-occupied Paris about a butch perfumer and a modern-day college thriller where a bisexual woman serial killer is the campus vigilante.

Of these two, The Perfume Thief became an immediate favorite. Here’s how it opens:

If you’re picturing me in some ladylike frock printed with posies, lace at the collar, don’t. I’m not done up that way. I began wearing trousers long before we ladies were allowed. You’ll find me in tweed and neckties, shirtsleeves and cuff links, fedoras and porkpies.

People sometimes say, She’s still somewhat handsome, and I think they mean it as a compliment.

“Are you whoever you are when you’re dressed,” a fellow asked me many, many years ago—decades, probably—a bourbon in one hand, his other hand toying with the button of my suspenders, “or are you whoever you are when you’re naked?”

The voice is strong, the prose is fantastic. Like much historical fiction, one of its pleasures is the depth of detail; you read to be immersed. It’s written in first person present tense too, so I’m doubly enamored. There are nods to historical queer life, and some of it is of the author’s invention (e.g. the perfume used by the lesbians of Paris), and it’s very well-researched. The narrative alternates between Clementine’s youth of crime and her love affair with a trans man and her ‘present day’ swindling a Nazi officer, and while the book ultimately has a bittersweet note tending toward hopeful, it’s also unflinching. The main flaw is that the pacing is pretty slow—it takes until about 25% through the book before it gets going—but it’s more than worth it.

They Never Learn is in most respects a weaker book: prose-wise, there’s not much to write home about. There’s the occasional fun line, like

But little do they know: killing a man is so much more satisfying than fucking a man could ever be.

The narrator is a bisexual woman, but she clearly gets little emotional satisfaction out of her relationships with men, viewing them as either useless or violent. There are shades of Killing Eve, except it doesn’t beat around the bush—Scarlett’s desire for another woman is immediately front and center. I consider it a popcorn book due to the borderline bricklayer plainness of language (couldn’t she go on about the graphic details of her murders a bit more? Surely we could have a few visceral metaphors and titillating violence?), but my preferences about prose are pretty particular. It’s a pretty unique book; not many titles, after all, are about a lesbian serial killer who gets a happy ending.

Recent updates: Valentine’s special, upcoming items

I can’t believe it’s been more than half a month since Now Will Machines Devour the Stars came out! This is the fifth novella in the Machine Mandate series, and the sixth book (counting Machine’s Last Testament) altogether. Expect one more novella later this year before I bring the series to a wrap (for now).

For Valentine’s, we released A Rose for Her Hound, part of my collaboration with Devi Lacroix. It’s a cute (?) little story about Viveca and Fahriye, taking place after The Gunrunner and Her Hound, about grief and the first steps toward getting (slowly) better.

What’s forthcoming, other than the sixth Machine Mandate novella? Well, mostly my projects with Devi: The Spy and Her Serpent in March, and after that a new urban fantasy series featuring, yes, the same characters… but reimagined as warlocks, sorceresses, demons, and weretigers. You know. Fun stuff. Look: ‘one character, multiple versions’ is good enough for Michael Moorcock and type-moon, so it’s good enough for us, honestly. We have every intention of making the new series able to standalone though, and the first book is already waaaay longer than the Gunrunner ones. Please look forward to it; I think our approach to urban fantasy is pretty fresh, and very fun, and of course very, very lesbian.

New books up for pre-order!

Some big news! Remember Her Pitiless Command, my fantasy trilogy that started in 2017? Yeah, uh, it’s been a while. But! We’re finally putting out the third and final book, Shattersteel. Look at the cover! I think this is honestly my favorite of the three, so striking and vivid, and so suited to the queen’s motifs (yes, she really has eyes like those). If you order direct from the publisher, you can get a 30% off.

This will be out this December. I’ll be releasing short stories set in this world toward the month. Please look forward to them! It is also available on Amazon and other retailers.

My collaboration with Devi Lacroix The Gunrunner and Her Hound is also up for pre-order, releasing this November, available on Amazon, Apple iBooks, Kobo, and B&N.

We’re doing a pre-order sale: the price is $3.99 now but will be bumped up after release. What will you get if you buy the book given that we’ll release all the main ‘episodes’ in the project for free eventually? You get the entire story in one place and well in advance of the serialization, plus three mini-stories exclusive to the ebook. You may even get a sneak peek of the next book in the series (that’s right, we’re doing more of this)! Pretty good deal, IMO. :)

Introducing ‘The Gunrunner and Her Hound’

Something completely different: I embarked on a collaboration project! For the first time ever. The project is a series of short stories with an overarching narrative, co-written by me and Devi Lacroix (her Patreon is here). I originally serialized it via my newsletter, but now it’s up in full on Devi’s website: ‘At Her Rightful Place’. We’re calling the entire series The Gunrunner and Her Hound.

Viveca Hua, arms-dealer

…is driven by three things: the certainty of steel, the need to win, and the need to possess.

Yves, bodyguard

…hunts for the place she belongs, and she might just have found it in the captivating Viveca, who offers her a new organization, an answer—and a collar.

Together they must survive assassins, rival gunrunners, and their own lethal attraction.

It’s a very neat project, and obviously a huge break from my usual genres: there’s no speculative elements to this one (other than a few things of shifted history that results in an alternate present), it’s all sexual tension, guns, and feelings. Later this month I’ll begin serializing the second short story, again through the newsletter. Working with Devi has been a blast: her prose is like an incision and her tackling of complex characterization incredible.

I can’t wait to see where we go with this project. We already have a decent arc in mind (and an idea of what this might look like as a book to compile everything in one place), so expect a more short stories between now and then!

In other news, I have a new Machine Mandate book out: Where Machines Redeem the Lost.

This is another break in tradition in that it doesn’t really stand alone and necessitates having read Shall Machines Divide the Earth albeit not any other book in the series. It takes up the secondary protagonist Recadat and continues her (very messy, very complicated) story in an AI-run prison facility. I billed this as a psychological thriller; it was a toss between this or psychological horror, but I felt it doesn’t really have enough horror elements.

Recadat Kongmanee has lost everything to the machines: the woman she loved, the hero’s prize she was promised, and her memories. All she has left is vengeance.

Within the Garden of Atonement, artificial intelligences offer healing and a return to innocence. Brought in as an inmate, Recadat must keep up a dangerous charade while she readies a weapon built to destroy AIsand prove that machines are not gods. But as she’s pulled into games of control and obsession, she draws ever closer to forgetting her purpose.

Yet she has not been sent alone, and a hidden ally watches from the shadows to ensure that she carries out her mission . . . or else that she never leaves the Garden alive.

It’s already gotten two fanfic specific to the book! I’m, as always, delighted: The Devil’s Staircase by Jemma_Topaz and The Many Wives of Recadat Kongmanee by Devi (both spoil the book to varying extent).

Machine Mandate Fanfiction Index

Canon characters

Shall Machines Sunder the River by Devi_Lacroix

One does not become a terrorist overnight. Or rather: one does, in their heart, but it takes time for their hands to callous with the knowledge.

I am better at it than any good and well-habituated person ought to be, to a degree that would appall Eurydice but leave Recadat unfazed. But then again, Recadat was a true believer—in justice, in truth, in doing the right thing—and Eurydice had a sardonic bent that fit nicely with the world-weariness that inflected my world view. Perhaps, in death as in life, I have continued to misunderstand them.

An alternate universe that takes place after Now Will Machines Hollow the Beast and which pre-empts the events of Shall Machines Divide the Earth, detailing what might have happened if Thannarat’s life had gone… very differently, and been more devastatingly tragic. Author patreon. Also, check out her original fiction; Nemesis is my favorite.

Don’t Look Back by lamianoble

As the Admiral’s projection faded, Krissana cleared her throat. “Did she sound mad to you?”
Orfea took a breath before responding. “She doesn’t need to sound mad. Anyone with the slightest awareness of our operations would know she’d be furious at these results.”

A short about Krissana and Orfea pre-And Shall Machines Surrender, after one of their missions under the Amaryllis.

Shall the Tiger Sunder the Earth by Lt_SciBrat

The assailants were smaller in number—technically, outnumbered, though that is an odd word to use for an invading force that sears through an astonished juggernaut with laser guided reckless abandon, routs them with bestial savagery directed by clockwork precision, even if it is technically correct. You would not say a hot knife is outnumbered by the butter.

Another AU: what would have happened if Recadat had won in Shall Machines Divide the Earth and used her wish to liberate Ayothaya? I really love the bleakness and speculation that went into what Recadat would become if her corruption by Chun Hyang’s Glaive reaches its logical conclusion, as well as the prose. She also wrote a werewolf Anoushka fanfic which is fantastic and oh so sexy, and a really sad far future fanfic about the perils of an AI loving a human.

If you’d like to show the author appreciation, she has a Ko-Fi.

The Exegesis of Wonsul by VyriaDurav

But my lady…Iris…had been broken by grief long ago and was prone to confusing the events of the present with those of the past. My awareness was new, strange, but I could still pull upon the records of my time asleep and knew that indulging her was necessary.

A story exploring the background (and burgeoning sense of gender) of the AI Wonsul’s Exegesis. I really adore it, it’s both sweet and sad and I can’t wait to see where the author takes the idea. Her original fiction can be found here.

No Worlds Left To Conquer by Zyzzyva1936

Numadesi didn’t need to be told twice – didn’t need to be told once, but she loved waiting for that snap in her wife’s voice. She set to Anoushka’s pants. Anoushka took her own shirt off. There was a point to foreplay, and teasing, and Numadesi being made to do everything precisely because she could be made to do everything, but Numadesi knew her wife too, and had been working her as hard as any human knew how, and by now Anoushka’s nipples were nearly as hard as the composite fiber ribcage beneath them. She wasn’t going to wait.

An AU, this time with the speculation of: what if Benzaiten in Autumn is a literal puppet master? This is NSFW. It is erotic mind control. It’s also really, really hot and good. What can I say, my tastes are wide-ranging. You can find the author’s original fiction here.

Columbian Bargaining by warisaracket

I played the part of the diplomat well. I had been conditioned, trained, since the age of four years old with the highest degree of operant conditioning the Columbian Guard mustered. I had only been allowed to know what sex was when I turned sixteen. I could control my every expression, my face a perfectly impassive mask. Not even the sight, down one corridor, of a woman with an enormous… organ… between her legs, possibly a prosthesis, possibly fleshly, not even the sight of her performing a sensual act with some other woman could persuade me to quirk an eyebrow unwillingly.

A story where Numadesi dips into very gentle mind control, satisfying her penchant for teaching virgins all about sensuality.

Original characters

And Shall Machines Chase the Sun by crownedserpent

Samara looks at her hands, dark and smooth with youth, but her nails glow a soft oceanic blue. She blinks and swears she can see the lightspeed path of electricity that now chases the circuitry of her veins. The ichor of the machines flows within her, and she feels life returning to her, smoldering and eternal. 

A story about a woman who’s just merged with an AI to become a freshly minted haruspex. The prose is absolutely gorgeous and I can’t wait to see where this goes, so if you think it sounds good too you can support the author (and read xer original fiction) here.

From Where Machines Count The Stars by Kalindlara

This time de Witte doesn’t laugh. She looks over at the grille that in ancient times would have separated her from a priest. Her expression is difficult to read—doubt? annoyance? pity?—and when she speaks, her voice is underlaid with firmness. “Xe. Not he or she or they or it. Xe. It’s a pronoun.”

“That doesn’t make sense. There are only two pronouns for people and one for corporate entities and institutions. Benzaiten must be one of those. Everyone must be one of those.” Indeed, the facet tasked with decoding the concept has returned only null values and corrupt data. It’s not fair. I need to understand this.

This story explores the dystopian Pax Americana (yes, it is exactly what it sounds like) and what the carceral hell in that would look like, as well as how the AI administering it might be suborned (and liberated) through a gender epiphany. Enjoyed it as much as I did? Here’s the author’s patreon

Below Decks on the Seven of Divide by Jemma_Topaz

Certainly there was plenty of competition, rows and rows of women, bodies carefully adjusted — for fighting, true, but there was a lot of overlap there. Aria shook her head.

“Numadesi looked at me once,” said Aria, “I mean, properly. But she must have second thoughts; maybe she could tell … doesn’t matter.”

A cute, smutty look at the ranks and files on the Armada of Amaryllis. The author’s interactive fiction can be found here.

What Machines Abandon to Faith by Geckonator

I weep for my people.  I rage for my world.  Across light years of distance and hours of time, every second through which I fail them is another measure of wrath and retribution recorded in my ledger.  But in the vastness of transference I have only darkness, can’t think clearly beyond the emotions I hold in the moment.  But there it comes, my body drawing closer, closer, closer…

Another one with original characters! Epic in scope, touching on various powerful polities as well as Mandate and Amaryllis interests. I love the voice and the cadence. Follow the author on twitter here.